House looks terrific? Sell it during the holidays

Dec 19, 2013, 12:42 PM | Updated: Mar 4, 2016, 5:51 am
If there's one time of year when houses actually feel presentable, it's during Christmas. (AP Photo/Pottery Barn)
(AP Photo/Pottery Barn)

The neighborhood kids all arrived, bundled in holiday scarves and hats, plus patent leather shoes usually reserved for weddings and Sunday Mass at St. Theresa’s.

Our old house, a large in-city place jammed with the craziness and crayons brought by four young people, was the designated gathering spot – especially for one famous day each year. And, on that day, we were more than the most popular house in the neighborhood.

We got to host Santa . . . before Christmas Eve.
Why us? Had we clearly put the most distance between naughty and nice?

The truth is that we made a successful bid at the local babysitting co-op auction fundraiser and the reward was a one-hour visit from The Big Fella.

We invited the neighborhood, the event became a huge success and our home was deemed headquarters for Santa’s annual pre-Christmas visit – regardless of who won “the hour” at subsequent co-op auctions.

On that first Santa Day, all of our friends remarked how our home always looked terrific during the holidays. I had never really thought about it very much until a 6-year-old, visiting from out of town, asked: “Does your home always smell like cookies?”

As the neighborhood kids were coaxed into a then Kodak-moment (family-portrait poses with their parents and Santa near the Christmas tree) I sat back and thought how appealing the house actually was.

If there’s one time of year when houses actually feel presentable, it’s during Christmas. And it’s not just the Yuletide decorations. The kids seem to help more, perhaps knowing the consequences of how whining as an art form nets fewer presents under the tree; bulky furniture and toys often are stowed in an attempt to save space, and pleasant baking sensations come consistently from the kitchen.

I know it bucks common wisdom – which says nobody looks at or buys houses during the holidays – but if you have your house on the market, encourage your agent to show it and have an open house during this special time of year.
Just remember that even though Santa is about ready to slide down the chimney, you won’t have to move out immediately even if a buyer walks through the door tomorrow.

A lot of people can’t afford the luxury of waiting until spring when all the flowers look lovely. The bottom line is that discriminating, qualified buyers are chasing homes, not seasons. In addition, there will probably be a lot more homes on the market in January and February so the competition for buyers will be greater.

Savvy agents suggest keeping a fire in the fireplace and raking up any remaining leaves in the yard. It’s also not a bad idea to keep that oven churning out your favorite treats. Aroma – and perception – often brings out memories of great times, and tastes, from specific holiday kitchens.

Never underestimate the value of tasteful decorations. I once knew a family who actually counted on visitors after dark because their home for sale had one of the most compelling light displays in town.

Such artful holiday decorations could put more money in your pocket by bringing a better sales price. The prospective buyer sees something special, something extraordinary.

Do keep the interior of your house as free of clutter as possible. Ask Santa to keep most of the presents in the sleigh if you are having an open house just before Christmas and make a point of clearing the paper and ribbons right away after they are opened.

I know, I know…Christmas has been – historically, traditionally, statistically and realistically – a lousy time to try to sell a house. But things have changed. Buyers are better prepared, know what they want and are willing to pull the trigger – regardless of season.

Whatever your situation – potential seller, potential buyer, happy staying-put homeowner – enjoy the holidays. Chances are, your house has never looked better.

If your home looks special, and you’re considering a sale, let your agent bring in some potential buyers.
Put grandma in the car and show her the neighborhood lights.

Holiday gift idea: Sports fan? History buff? Mystery reader? Tom Kelly’s new novel “Cold Crossover” is now available in print at bookstores everywhere and in both print and Ebook form from a variety of digital outlets. Follow real estate agent and former basketball coach Ernie Creekmore as investigates the disappearance of his star player on a late-night boat. Check out the national reviews and put “Cold Crossover” on your list.


Tacoma fire...
KIRO 7 News Staff

Fire ‘knocked down’ at Tacoma building, air quality improves

A firefight is underway at an abandoned building in Tacoma, where a huge plume of black smoke is rising into the air.
2 days ago
UW strike...
Lisa Brooks

One injured in stabbing at University of Washington

An alert was issued by the University of Washington Thursday night about a stabbing on the University's Seattle campus.
13 days ago
KIRO 7 News Staff

Smoke billows as fire engulfs building in North Seattle, closes Lake City Way

A fire at a vacant building in Seattle’s Lake City neighborhood has closed both directions of Lake City Way.
20 days ago
Harrell, downtown Seattle...
MyNorthwest Staff

Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell delivers State of the City address

Mayor Bruce Harrell's State of the City address is expected to cover Seattle's issues involving crime, homelessness, and police staffing.
30 days ago
avalanche warning...
Meteorologist Morgan Palmer, KIRO 7 News and KIRO 7 News Staff

Avalanche warning in effect for mountain passes with rain, Wind Advisories in lowlands

A winter storm is rolling through our mountain passes that could pose problems for drivers starting Monday.
1 month ago
Briseida Holguin, KIRO 7 News

‘Officers collapsed from aerosolized fentanyl’: Concerns over K-9s not trained to detect the drug

This week state representatives discussed House Bill 1635, which calls for police K-9s to be trained to detect fentanyl.
1 month ago

Sponsored Articles

SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!
safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
House looks terrific? Sell it during the holidays